Columbus Makes Art Presents Lucy A. Snyder on Writing Horror, Science Fiction, Poetry and More
Lucy A. Snyder has written ten novels and hundreds of published short stories, articles and poems. The five-time Bram Stoker Award winner will be appearing at the 11th annual Ohioana Book Festival on Saturday, April 8, at the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square.
David Weaver: What inspired you to become a writer? Was there a particular author or book that lit a spark?
Lucy A. Snyder: Once I was old enough to read anything of substance, I grabbed pretty much anything with a space ship or a fantastic creature on the cover that appeared on the school library’s shelves. It was Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time that simultaneously hooked me as a lifelong science fiction/fantasy reader and fixed me on the idea of writing fantasy and SF instead of mainstream work. I remember that the book spoke to me in a way that nothing I’d read until then really had, and I had that shivery sense of wonder you get with really good speculative fiction. And I thought to myself that if I could write something that made another person feel the way I was feeling, then that would have to be the best job in the world.
David: You’re not only a writer; you’re also an editor, instructor and media writer. Is there one activity that gives you the greatest amount of satisfaction?
Lucy: They are all satisfying in different ways. I enjoy helping people, and so with teaching, seeing students have that “Aha!” moment in which they finally grasp a concept is great. With editing, helping another writer improve his or her story gives me a lasting sense of accomplishment. But ultimately, I am a writer, first and foremost because I am a reader. I love books, and I love getting books that have my stories in them. That, I admit, is satisfying in a way that none of my other activities are.
David: Related to that, you’ve won five Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers Association, yet you also write science fiction, fantasy, nonfiction and poetry. Is it easy moving between different genres and formats?
Lucy: Shifting tone can be more of a challenge than switching genres because that often involves putting me into a completely different emotional landscape. So, if I’m finishing an intense horror story and I’m planning to write a humorous fantasy story after that, I usually wait a day and do some reading or watch movies that fit with the style and tone of what I’m working on next.
David: You are leading a workshop (“The Plot Thickens”) for aspiring writers this May in Pickerington. What advice do you give people who want to write as a career?
Lucy: Persist, and learn your craft. Always try new styles of writing to build your writing skill set. But mostly: persist. Keep going in the face of rejection. The people I know who’ve made it as professional fiction writers are the people who refuse to give up.
David: You’re not originally from Ohio, but you’ve lived and worked here for many years. What do you think of Columbus as a place for writers and other creative artists?
Lucy: I think the city has become a great place for writers. It’s not too expensive – which is a big deal if you’re trying to make it on a freelancer’s salary – and there are plenty of good libraries and arts centers in town. The creative community here has really blossomed.
David: Do you have any favorite places to go in Columbus?
Lucy: I love our metro parks … there are some great hiking trails around here. And we have some great restaurants. We’re really spoiled here in that regard. But it seems like every time I mention a place, something happens and it shuts down, so out of sheer superstition I’m not going to give specifics.
The 2017 Ohioana Book Festival takes place Saturday, April 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit ohioana.org.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.